If you have been injured in a road traffic accident caused by faulty traffic lights through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation.
There are two common situations in which road traffic accidents occur at road junctions or other stretches of road governed by faulty traffic lights.
The first situation is where the traffic lights are not working at all; in other words, the lights are all off. Sometimes there will be signs on the approach to the lights warning drivers that the lights aren’t working, although that’s not always the case.
In either of these situations, the normal laws of driving will apply, and you will be obliged to give way, indicate, stop, and proceed as you would if there were no traffic lights present at the junction. Rule 176 of the Highway Code states that: “If the traffic lights are not working, treat the situation as you would an unmarked junction and proceed with great care.”
So, drivers should take extra care when approaching junctions with faulty traffic lights. If they don’t, and if their negligence causes an accident, they will be liable and it’s unlikely they would be able to attach blame to the local or highway authorities.
If the lights are faulty in that they show the same traffic signal to some or all of the road users approaching the lights and a collision occurs, then depending on the circumstances it’s possible some liability attaches to whichever authority is responsible for maintaining the lights. However, even in this situation, motorists are expected to exercise caution where traffic lights regulate a junction or roadworks.
Evidence is key in establishing liability in cases involving faulty traffic lights. The evidence might include photographs of the scene and your injuries, your recollections, and witness accounts. Anything that helps establish precisely how and why an accident happened can be crucial, so it’s important to collate and retain all relevant material.